Mark Asay was convicted of two racially motivated murders in 1987. (Florida Department of Corrections)
WASHINGTON – The execution of a white supremacist in Florida scheduled for Thursday night would mark the first time the state has put to death a white person for killing a black person.
Mark Asay, 53, would be the first person executed in Florida since January 2016. He has been on death row for nearly 30 years. He was convicted of killing two black men in 1987, Robert Booker and Robert McDowell (also known as Renee Torres).
The execution also would mark the first time an untested triple-drug lethal injection procedure will be used in the United States.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that Florida’s death sentencing protocol, which did not require unanimous votes by juries, was unconstitutional. Since March, state law has required a unanimous jury to sentence an inmate to death, and the policy is retroactive to 2002. Now, dozens of death row inmates in the state are eligible to be re-sentenced — but only those who were sentenced before 2002, so Asay does not qualify.
The Florida Supreme Court this month has rejected two appeals by Asay. He unsuccessfully challenged the new lethal-injection procedure. On Monday the court rejected another appeal made on the grounds that justices acknowledged the court had been mistaken for more than two decades about the race of McDowell – who was white or Hispanic, not black.
Unless a stay is issued, Asay will be executed after 6 p.m. EDT.
The article is republished with permission from Talk Media News.
Regina Holmes has more than two decades of experience as a journalist –editing and reporting for news dailies including the Miami Herald, Newsday and the Baltimore Examiner.